Swim, dive teams break out strong from training

The Carnegie Mellon swimming and diving teams started the semester off strong after completing their annual winter break training in Florida. The men’s and women’s teams have winning records of 6–2 and 2–1 since returning from their training trip. After defeating Case Western Reserve University at home Jan. 10, the Tartans came out of this past weekend at 1–1, defeating Allegheny College Friday night but unable to continue their success on Saturday against visiting Kenyon College.

Highlights of the Case Western Reserve weekend included great swims from senior Tom McConnell and sophomore Molly Evans. Evans set season best and school record times in her heats on Saturday.

The Tartans finished one and two for a number of events. First-years Olivia DeFazio and Kendra Gaul took the top two places in the 1- and 3-meter diving events, and Hannah Gonzales and sophomore Rebecca Ussai followed suit, finishing one and two in the 100-yard butterfly.

Sophomore Brianne Burton recorded a first place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.06 and Evans won both the 400-yard IM and 100-yard backstroke.

The Carnegie Mellon men swept both the 500- and 1000-yard freestyles with McConnell finishing first in both events with times of 4:45.03 and 9:40.99, respectively. Junior Jonas Altman-Kurosaki joined in the sweep to finish second in the 1000 and third in the 500. Teammates Alex Hanson and Gates Winkler closed out the top three finishes, with Hanson finishing second in the 500 and Winkler coming in third in the 1000-meter. Junior Jeff Dahlen had a strong showing against Case Western Reserve, touching the wall first in both the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle. Sophomore Joshua Mathews also recorded dual victories in both the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events. First-year Mike Alexovich secured first place in the one-meter diving event and junior Matt Kuhn took first in the three-meter event.

Both teams came out on top in their meet Friday night against Allegheny College. The men posted a 167–122 victory, and the women held their own as they defeated their opponents with a final score of 158–141. The men swept the 200-yard freestyle when McConnell finished first in 1:46.84, followed closely by second-place finisher senior Ron Papa in 1:47.64, and first-year Ben Cohen closed out the top three with a time of 1:52.91. McConnell recorded another first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 50.23. Hanson recorded two first-place finishes, completing the 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.11 and the 200-yard freestyle in 2:00.71.

Sophomore Michael Panzitta took the 100-yard backstroke in 55.33, while first-year Michael Rong had a strong showing in the 1000-yard freestyle, completing the race in 10.13.56.

On the other end of the pool, Alexovich put points on the board for the Tartans by wining both the one- and three-meter diving events.

The women’s team recorded eight first-place finishes in their victory over Allegheny. Evans won the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard backstroke, and the 100-yard butterfly. First-year Victoria Adams won the 1000-yard freestyle in 10:59.35, and senior Allison Retotar took the 200-yard IM in 2:16.22. Junior Sara Andrews won both the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard freestyle and on the diving board DeFazio won the one- and three-meter diving events.

Saturday, the Tartans suffered two tough losses in their home pool. The men fell to Kenyon by a final score of 141.5–115.5 and the women by a score of 174–83.
On the men’s side, McConnell had another strong showing winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4:43.18 and swimming a season-best 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:40.44. First-place finishers included junior Jason Huber, junior Andrew Seo, and Hanson. Huber completed the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.76, Seo won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:11.19, and Hanson took the 400-yard IM in 4:11.04.

On the women’s side, Evans secured three first-place victories, qualifying for the NCAA meet in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard backstroke, and the 400-yard IM.
For the second week in a row, Evans set a school record in the 400-yard IM, this time with a time of 4:31.47. Also swimming strong for the Tartans, Andrews and Ussai finished third in their respective races.

Evans was positive about the weekend. “We had a chance to race a team that was faster than us, and everyone competed extremely well, especially considering that we had a meet at Allegheny the night before,” she said.

The Tartans will soon have their University Athletic Association (UAA) team chosen and ready to go for the conference meet. Evans, one of the Tartans already qualified for NCAA competition, shared her thoughts on the later half of the season.

“I think being on training trip allows us to refocus and concentrate on the rest of the season. Once we get back, there is only a month and a half before conferences, so we need to be focused in order to prepare for UAAs.”

Carnegie Mellon swim and dive will be home again this Saturday against Westminster College at 1 p.m. for Senior Day. This is the final home meet of the season and for the seniors.